Here at Rainforest Action Network, we know the sure-fire way to challenge corporate power is to follow the money. Over the last few months our team has been doing just that, targeting the immoral and destructive fossil fuel projects backed by big banks.
This past December, twenty-one banks were identified as part of a “revolving credit” that gave TransCanada a $5 billion ATM card to fund the company’s pipeline business. JPMorgan Chase has always been a bad actor, investing in and financing dirty fossil fuel projects. Yet, again JPMorgan Chase makes their priorities clear as one of the lead banks helping to arrange the credit. For these bankers, profits come before people.
JPMorgan Chase is facing two major tests of its policies on Indigenous rights and climate change — whether to fund TransCanada (the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline) and Kinder Morgan (the company behind the Trans Mountain pipeline). Keystone XL and Trans Mountain would enable expanded extraction of tar sands — one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive forms of oil. These pipelines threaten Indigenous rights and our shared climate.
In April, RAN launched the #DefundKXL Week of Action, taking the fight directly to the banks helping to fund the Keystone XL Pipeline. This concentrated effort mobilized folks to take action in their communities and target JPMorgan Chase to make clear to the banks that what they got away with Dakota Access won’t happen again with Keystone XL. Activists participated in over 20 actions at bank branches across the country during the #DefundKXL Week of Action, inspiring folks to escalate existing efforts in their communities.
In May we saw another surge in targeted bank actions as Seattle activists took to the streets and successfully shut down over 13 different Chase branches. Organized by 350 Seattle and Mazaska Talks, this series of actions resulted in over 30 arrests throughout the day, helping to amplify the message of #DefundTarSands and #ShutDownChase.
A few weeks after the energizing work in Seattle, a core member of SF Defund DAPL Coalition and RAN ally, Jackie Fielder, confronted JPMorgan Chase at their annual shareholder meeting in Delaware. She disrupted business as usual by taking the stage, deploying a banner, and questioning the CEO and Chase shareholders investment in human rights violations, environmental degradation, and a total disregard for Indigenous sovereignty.
RAN will continue our fights against big banks, targeting the worst actors in the game, such as JPMorgan Chase, demanding the whole sector eliminates fossil fuel investment. The people who work for these banks should know better. We are here, and we will continue to remind them that our climate, communities, and lives should come before their profit.
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